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Mr. Coulson 19, Andy Coulson 14, Bskyb 11, Coulson 11, Us 10, John Yates 10, Rebecca Brooks 7, Rupert Murdoch 6, Neil Wallace 6, Scotland 4, Africa 3, Mr. Wallace 3, Rebekah Brooks 3, Damien Mcbride 3, Damian Mcbride 3, The Cabinet 2, Angie Bray 2, Britain 2, London 2, Mr. John Cryer 2,
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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 20, 2011
    7:30 - 9:00am EDT  

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again will we allow proprietary will be sacrificed while those responsible are asleep on watch. >> i think the short answer to the honorable gentleman i think transparent is probably the best answer. i commented on this in my speech when we opened the debate but i think the best way of making sure relationships are appropriate and we don't duck issues of media regulation is for everyone to see how often we meet. >> sir nick? >> the prime minister has repeated repeatedly emphasized that he has the conduct of andy coulson while he was heading the government media service. will the prime minister confirm that a year ago during the period when mr. coulson was director of communications, the cabinet secretary was alerted to evidence of illegal phone hacking, covert surveillance and hostile media briefing directed against a senior official in the government service, what action,
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if any, was taken to investigate what appears to have been disgraceful and illegal conduct close to the heart of government? >> well, i have to look very closely what the honorable gentleman says but the point i've made and i've never seen any evidence to go against it is that in the period that andy coulson worked at number 10 downing street as head of communications that there was no complaint about the way he did his job. now, i fully accept -- i take responsibility for employing him. i take responsibility for that decision. and i've laid out very clearly today what i think of that now and all that has been learned and you have to learn these lessons if you're going to go on and get things right for the future. i would say in my defense is the time he spent in do you think street, he did not behave in a way that anyone felt was inappropriate. and that is important because the decision was to employ him. the decision was then his to lead. and during that period people cannot point to misconduct and say that, therefore, was a misjudgment. >> karen bradley.
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>> many constituents have contacted me regarding this important issue and they will join me in welcoming a statement today. but many others have been in touch concerning other important issues such as the crisis in the eurozone and the situation in the horn of africa. can the prime minister reassure my constituents that this government is dealing with all issues and not simply focusing on phone hacking? >> the honorable lady is right, people do want us to get on with the other issues particularly at a time when we need the economy to grow, we need to provide more jobs, we've got to get to grips with the problems of the cost of living. they want to see reforms in welfare and immigration. yes, they want us to deal with this issue but they want to us keep a perspective and a balance and get on with many of the issues this country needs to deal with. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister is absolutely right to say that this is a cross-party to get to the bottom of these issues who, therefore, is sure that all the minority parties, all the parties in this house are consulted about the parties not to the leader of the
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opposition but would we say seriously from the involved administrations about the inquiry in administrations? >> what i'd say to the honorable gentleman we did consult the administrations but the terms of reference and about the inquiry. a number of points were made. not all of them were impossible to be concluded but sometimes they clashed with other consultees to the official of the opposition and we tried to get the balance right but anyone looking at the terms of reference it will see it covers all the ground and actually sets out an extremely and effective inquiry. >> mr. speaker, was recognizing the disgraceful nature of the phone hacking scandal, will my honorable friend will have petty politics and revenge and anticompetition who want to curtail the advances of a free press and ensure there is no alternative to the monopoly of the bbc? >> i think we'll come on to the issue of media regulation and media plurality and also the power of media owners when we
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discuss this in the debate. and i think it is important not to leave the bbc out of that entirely because it is such a huge part of the media industry in the u.k. what we want to make sure is that no media group becomes too powerful or has too much influence because that will help with the issue of the relationship between politics and the media as well. >> emily thornberry. >> i thank the right honorable gentleman for telling us that he will answer all questions and i wonder, therefore, if i could take him back to the article in the "new york times" in september, 2010. he's told us today that no information in that article could make him change his mind about mr. coulson. so, therefore, could he tell us who brought it to his attention? did he read it at the time and who did he discuss it with that led him to the conclusion that coulson was not involved? >> this article like many others was discussed and debated and written about in the british press as well and, of course, all the way through this so let me be clear because this is an important question. all the way through the employment of andy coulson there were questions about his
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resignation of the "news of the world," what did he know about the hacking inquiry and all the rest of it. i set myself a very simple test if anybody brought me credible information that showed he knew about hacking, i would have fired him. that is as simple -- that is as simple as that. and if i'd -- if i knew that he had known about hacking i wouldn't have hired him in the first place. i tried to be as extreme clear about this. the decision and the responsibility is mine for hiring him. his conduct at number 10, no one has been able to reproach. he doesn't work at number 10 downing street and the only person at the news international stuck with a cloud in his head is that private office, not my private office. >> mr. mike hancock. >> thank you. putting aside what is appropriate and not appropriate, could the prime minister just say whether or not in the conversations he had, the question of the bskyb takeover was mentioned? >> the point i'm trying to make
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is this, i had no responsibility for the bskyb takeover. i specifically asked to be taken out of any of the decision-making and any of the information because i didn't want to put myself in any sort of compromising position. i was very clear about that. so much so that i didn't even know when many of the key announcements were being made. that's why rebecca brooks was quite able to say at the house of commons yesterday that there wasn't a single conversation that couldn't have taken place in front of the select committee. now, i know that many people were hoping for some great allegation yesterday that could add to their fevered conspiracy theories. i'm just disappointed for them that they didn't get one. >> allen michael. >> thank you, mr. speaker. as police minister my experience of briefings from the police was that they didn't give you any operational information but they did tell you things that you needed to know. senior police officers in the metropolitan police would understand that perfectly. that's exactly what they were offering the prime minister. does he really want to be kept
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in the dark? why did he not -- was he angry -- sorry. as a minister i would be livid if officials were keeping information from me. >> here, here. >> did the prime minister want to be kept in the dark or is he angry with his chief of staff? >> i set this out in great detail in the statement. of course, i have very regular meetings with senior leaders with the metropolitan police service and a brief of terrorist organizations which the prime minister and cobra have a particular responsibility but the key issue about my chief of staff's email is that since reading it, paul stevenson, john yates, the cabinet secretary and the head of the home affairs select committee have all said that was the right judgment and yates specifically says the offer was quite rightly rejected. >> this house, the media and the whole country have been rightly
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focused on this issue. but is the prime minister aware that aid agencies are reporting that a consequence of that focus has been a lack of public awareness of a humanitarian crisis in somalia and as a consequence, lower donations to relief funds? did the prime minister assure me and the house that he will spend his time looking at those issues as well as this one? >> the prime minister responds. the matter to which the honorable lady is referred is extremely serious but whatever her strength of feeling about it, this cannot mutate into a general exchange about other matters and i know the prime minister won't want it to do so. the prime minister? >> well, i thought it was ingenuous to get that point in orbit. i think the honorable lady is making a very important point and that's one of the reasons i didn't want to cancel entirely my visit to africa. it is important that we actually get on with doing the things that britain should be doing in the world, whether that is trading with countries like nigeria or south africa or leading the aid effort in the horn of africa where today we're
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told it's not a catastrophe or a trout and a famine and i'm proud britain is not being deconflicted on the great role it's doing in trying to feed hungry people. >> mr. speaker, yesterday these evidence sessions rupert murdoch was asked about his frequent meetings with the prime minister and his government to which he replied, i wish they would leave me alone. well, did prime minister and his government would reply without request? [laughter] >> one of the outcomes of all of this there will be a lot of people leaving alone. >> mr. speaker, in the operation motorman investigation, the information commissioner found 861 personal, 861 personal information transactions which were positively identified as coming from 89 mirror group newspaper journalists. can the prime minister confirm that the inquiry that he has announced will be able to look
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into the unlawful practices going on at mirror group newspapers? >> i think the honorable gentleman makes an important point which is while we shouldn't believe automatically that these practices were spread right across the media, i think it would be naive to think that they were restricted to one newspaper or one newspaper group and indeed when you look at evidence like motor man and the information commissioners report, it's clear that they went wider and this inquiry and indeed this police investigation must go where the evidence leads. and all of us have got to ask questions about people that we employ and the rest of it if they were involved in these newspapers. >> cathy jamison. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i have heard what the prime minister has said with the administrations but in the avoidance of any doubt can the prime minister say whether this inquiry does extend to scotland? does include the issues such as policing which has devolved in scotland and the scotland's first minister for that and in
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that context has he secured an assurance from an uncharacteristic required first minister about his contact with news international? >> i can confirm this inquiry does extend to scotland. as i said we did send the draft terms of reference to get the administrations. we were able to accept a number of points. there was one specific point that the scottish administration wanted dealt with, which concerned the information commissioners' report which we haven't put specifically into the terms but, of course, it will be dealt with by the inquiry because it's such an important part of the work. more generally speaking, when it comes to the relationship between politicians and media, this inquiry will be able to go where the evidence leads. >> lee scott. >> does my right honorable friend agree with that welfare allegations in the metropolitan police have a vast majority of hundreds of police officers are protecting us and doing a wonderful job and should not be smeared by this? >> that's an incredibly important point police officers
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put their lives on the line for us every single day. and while, of course, we have to get to the bottom of what went wrong in the met, we shouldn't allow that to undermine the public confidence the people have in the bobby on the beat and the fantastic job they do for us. >> mr. richard burton. >> in response from the question from my right honorable friend, the prime minister said if he was given credible information regarding andy coulson, he would have done something about it. so will he now answer my question from my right honorable friend when he received that letter in october, what did he do? >> the answer that all the information that came out while andy coulson was working at number 10 downing street there was a permanent conversation, if you like, about was this new evidence that he knew about phone hacking? if it was, he would have to go. if it wasn't, he wouldn't. that is the key point but in the end, let me just answer this way, in the end because there were so many allegations and because he wasn't able to get on with his job, he left. the second chance i gave him
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didn't work. now, we can go this a million times but in the end the decision to appoint him is mine for which i've taken full responsibility. the conduct that he had at the number 10 downing street is not something that's under question so i think it would be better if we spent our time working how we're going to clear up the illegality that's taken place. >> mr. speaker, there must be widespread across this house agreement that it's imperative that the police and the media start now to clear up their own mess and to that end, would the prime minister agree with me that it's time that police officers stop divalaging of arrest of people before they're charged and the press stop then printing those details and invariably engaging in a feeding frenzy that destroys somebody's reputation even though they haven't even been arrested? >> i know the honorable lady has experienced from before she came
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into politics and her work as a lawyer and in broadcasting what my home secretary has announced that elizabeth filkin is going to try to work out a better code of ethics including in relation to the media and the steps that they take. and i think this has opened up a whole conversation that perhaps in this country we put off for far too long. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i return to the responses that the prime minister has given to the members for both areas. he said he hadn't had any appropriate discussions with news international executives regarding bskyb's bid. can i ask him which discussions he had with the said executives that he deemed were appropriate, and who the executives were and what the content of those discussions were? >> all these meetings are published. he can look on the internet and see every single meeting that i had and perhaps when he does that, he might ask his good friend the right honorable gentleman the leader of the option why he doesn't do the same thing. >> thank you.
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thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister was right to recall parliament and is also right to be concentrating on the immediate questions being asked. but will he ensure that the government commits to ensuring this does not happen again? part of this involves looking at the companies of 2006 'cause it seems absurd that we quite rightly have a crime of corporate manslaughter and direct a company where there has been complicit sanctuary currently facing those sanctions. >> i think there are some lessons to be learned for competition policy, for media policy and i'm sure we'll be debating those later on and i'll have some contributions to make on that. >> emma reynolds. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in her evidence yesterday, rebecca brooks stated that it was the chancellor's idea to employ andy coulson. was she right or was she merely trying to protect her prime
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minister? >> the decision was mine. in politics in the end the buck stops here with the prime minister. i made the decision. i defend the decision and i give it a very full explanation about it today. >> mr. edward lee. >> is there not a real danger that this scandal will follow so many others. first of all, bad behavior. then moral outrage, a lot of it hypocritical then lengthy judicial inquiries then more state regulation under the guise of independent regulation so would my right honorable friend commit himself today to the good old conservative values of individual liberty and freedom? >> i would be delighted to do that. and i do think the right honorable gentleman do make a good point and that's why on the panel i was very concerned to make sure you have people who really understand how the television works, how newspapers work, how regulation works and i think, for instance, the fact that george jones who spent many years in the lobby of this place is going to be on that panel of experts will help the committee
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inquiry to do its work. >> helen goodman? >> thank you, mr. speaker. i asked the prime minister whether -- in the standard contract will he now answer the question? >> it was vetted. he had a baseball level of investigate he wasn't able to see the most secret documents in the governments. it was all done in the proper way. he was subject to the special advisors code of conduct as someone shouted from behind me,o obeyed that code of conduct unlike damien mcbride. >> mr. speaker, there's been lots of talk of freedom and freedom has to be under the law. will my right honorable friend assure me that any future regulation of the press will balance the interests of
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ordinary men and women against the legitimate interest of maintaining a free press in this country? >> of course, i give that assurance. i think one of the things that the committee of inquiry will have to battle with is that if you look at some of the great investigative stories that have bust open scandals in the past, my honorable friend is a lawyer and he will know about this. that's one of the reasons we asked this inquiry to do that very difficult work. >> mr. jeremy corbin. >> will the prime minister have another opportunity to say on what occasion where during the he became prime minister he's ever discussed the murdoch bid to take over bskyb? >> the discussion i had was to make sure i wasn't involved in this decision so i didn't discuss it with the culture secretary. i didn't know about the timing about many of the key announcements. i wasn't involved. that was the sensible thing to do. conduct that not necessarily was engaged in by my predecessors. >> the former prime minister
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said he wanted -- said that he wanted to hold an inquiry into phone hacking and journalistic practices but he has an astonishing claims that the civil servants have stopped him to do so who told him fought to sell our gold at record low prices can the prime minister tell me feinherited any plans from the former government on this inquiry? >> all i can say is the idea the former prime minister had to have this inquire never was raised with the opposition. and one of the things i saw in the press over the last couple days is one of his former colleagues thought that it was a proposal that gordon made to himself. >> to -- [laughter] >> order, order! the exchanges won't continue until we have order. it's pretty straightforward. >> to hire the hackers of millie
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doweler meant that andy cowellson was either guilty of being complicit in a corrupt culture or that he presided acts of pure evil. what were the warnings given to the prime minister by the deputy prime minister and the lord ashdown not to appoint andy coulson and why did he ignore those warnings? >> i have to say to the honorable gentleman, we do still have in this country the idea that you are innocent until you are proven guilty. now, as i've said, i hired andy coulson on the basis of assurances that he gave me he did not know about hacking. after all, that is why he resigned as editor of the "news of the world." and incidentally, after he resigned, the very first person to ring him up and wish him well who was who? gordon brown. >> in her evidence to the select committee yesterday rebecca brooks spoke about the number of times she visited that number 10
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or checkers up to six times a year. does the perform not agree the calls for the other side of transparency sit very badly with the collective with the contacts of labour and news international? >> the point i would make we've all got to be open about the fact that both front benches spend a lot of time according to rupert murdoch, according to news international according to the russian who owns the independent and the daily mail and the bbc. everybody has done it. and we've all got to admit that this sort of relationship needs to be changed and put on a more healthy basis. now, we're prepared to admit it. that basically if you like the clock has stopped on my watch. and i'm determined to sort it out. now, from a sedentary position, from a sedentary position the shadow chancellor said you did not hire andy coulson. look, you hired damien mcbride. you had alistar campbell falsifying documents in government. you still got tom baldwin
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working in your office. gotcha! >> order! order! can i just remind the house that i've not been hiring people at all. mr. john cryer. >> thank you, mr. speaker. >> order! order! the house will listen to mr. john cryer. >> thank you, mr. speaker. on july the 8th the prime minister said that he commissioned a company to do a basic background check on coulson. now, for the fourth time i'm asking for the name of the company. it's a pretty simple question. just come to the dispatch box and name the company. >> we did hire a company to do a basic background check and that is an entirely appropriate thing to do. and it's an entirely appropriate
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report but i have to say the reason i hired him was above all the assurances that he gave me. that is the key part of the decision and that's what i'm prepared to say. >> mr. gary streeter. >> mr. speaker, can i thank my right honorable friend for a swift and decisive action in setting up these inquiries which will get to the bottom of these very serious issues. but looking forward, can i also add my voice to those encouraging him not to be overly distracted of this over the next few months but focus instead on the things that my constituents are concerned about the economy, the jobs and the reform of house services and the contagion in europe? >> my honorable friend is entirely right. we have to sort this issue out. it takes cross-party agreement to do it. we've worked well over the judicial inquiry, over the panel, over the terms of reference over the police inquiry all things the government has taken action on but we do want to get on the issues about which our constituents care about so much. >> will the prime minister
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immediately put on hold his plans to have elected police commissioners while we learn the lessons of the last few weeks because we should focus on the things that's swept under the carpet and some of the political fortitudes is on the full charge to hold them accountable. >> one of the things this whole episode shows our police service needs reform and the idea of greater accountability with them having to account to someone who can stand up for local people is a thoroughly good idea. >> dr. julian hopper. >> the home affairs select committee was told about failure incompetence of the met. our former police witnesses passed responsibility up and down the chain. there was lack of clarity about who made decisions. we were told it was t-happens all the time that somebody can get a job based on an email cv straight to the director of human resources.
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will the prime minister ensure we look at this massive failure of corporate governance in the metropolitan police? >> i'm sure the inquiry will look at that but indeed i think you'll find the ipcc will be looking at that specific issue concerning john yates even before the inquiry gets underway. >> will the prime minister confirm what the metropolitan police will tell the home secretary news international only cooperating in january 2011 shortly after mr. coulson resigned from number 10 downing street and keeping him in post for so long. of>> the metropolitan police made that very clear for the home affairs select question what i would say is what i said all along the police should pursue this without fear or favor. they should go where the evidence leads. they should arrest whoever they choose. they couldn't have a clearer message or more support from the government. >> thank you, mr. speaker. today is the anniversary of the --
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>> order. the honorable lady -- why do they call the oooh for the honorable advice. a very extraordinary choice of response. i want to hear the honorable lady. >> i agree, mr. speaker. [laughter] >> today people will know is the anniversary of the moon landing around which conspiracy theorists like to fluster. may i urge the prime minister rather than listening to the vapid conspiracy hack-gate theorists he focus on the facts. committee tell us what he's doing to toughen up the rules around the use of checkers to make sure it's never used for slumber parties for media tycoons again? >> i could see the development of a beautiful relationship here just for a brief moment. if it's perfectly all right i don't rule out my children having slumber parties if that is acceptable to the honorable lady but i promise to leave rebecca wade out of it.
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>> i want to ask the prime minister on a question previously given to him by the right honorable gentleman for my right honorable friend from greenwi greenwich. in the last year has he been briefed from the intelligence about the phone hacking and surveillance of a senior public servant? handmade that briefing and will the intelligence services be requested to give evidence to the inquiry? >> we don't discuss intelligence issues in this house. if he has something he wants to come and talk to me about this issue, he could beat a path to my door and i'll see him. >> mr. speaker, can the prime minister clarify and confirm that the law on media ownership was watered down under the 2003 communications act which for the first time allowed non-eea companies to own u.k. radio and television? >> he makes a very important point when a lot of the sound of fury comes from the party opposite, there was a progressive liberalization of media ownership delivered under
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the last government and they should do well to remember it. >> kerry mccarthy. >> the prime minister has a number of times brushed off questions about my honorable friend the member of my letter from him and did he see that letter and what did he do about it and if he didn't see it, committee go back to do you think street and see what else is about it. >> i will do exactly as the honorable lady says i will make sure a robust reply soon. >> may i ask the prime minister did he receive any advice from the editor of the guardian from lord ashdown or from the deputy prime minister about the hiring of tom ballwin by the leader of option. >> i have received quite a number of representations from honorable members and quite a few from others as well. >> mr. barry gardener. >> i welcome the prime minister's transparency in making available the 26 meetings with news corp and news international. i welcome the fact that he was
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able to say that no inappropriate conversations took place between him and bskyb. committee tell us that no appropriate conversations about the bid took place at those meetings also? >> all my conversations are appropriate. [laughter] >> mr. greg hands? >> is the prime minister aware that under the 2005 inquiries act and contrary to the evidence given by his predecessor, it is actually under the terms of the act that the job of a minister to cause an inquiry not the cabinet secretary? >> yes. i believe that my honorable friend is right and it does go to the point about the speech made last week by the former prime minister. in the end, ministers have the responsibility to make these decisions. and i don't think it's particularly noble to try to hide behind them and blame your civil servants. >> in his statement the prime minister told us that neil
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wallace formally deputy editor at "news of the world" wasn't employed or paid by the conservative party but it has transpired he's been advising andy coulson at least in the run-up of the general election. has the prime minister made any inquiries of the exact nature of that advice? >> he i wouldn't, i have. as the honorable gentleman i wasn't told by. he wasn't contracted by and he wasn't paid by but he did offer some informal advice. the reason this information has come out is because we put it out and we will be equally transparent when we get to the bottom of this. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my constituents feel that relationships between news international and politicians have been too close for many years but they are very shocked with the association by the police but can the prime minister ensure the house that the remit of the independent review i congratulate him on setting up will include guidance on preserving the freedom of the
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press to undertake the investigative journalism which has long been a good tradition in this country? >> i can reassure about that. the terms of reference do refer to the importance of a free press and i think the panel when you think of having people like george jones, like eleanor goodman like a former press regulator someone who has chaired the ft i think it's a good mixture of experts to help advise justice levinson to make sear we get the balance right. ..
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>> are one to the hon. lady to not use terms like that. hired judge people by the conduct of the work they do for me. i would put mr. coulson's conduct against the conduct of damian mcbride and all the rest of it who did so much damage under the last government. >> i would like to accommodate many more colleagues on this important subject but in order to do so, mr. william cash. [laughter] >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has referred
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several times to the future of regulation of the media, not just the press, in terms of excellence we have been told about, he says the inquiry should not just look at a press but other media organizations including broadcast if there is any evidence they are involved in criminal activities. does this preclude what the committee chairman and others have called for, extension of the terms of reference to deal with regulation of all the me and not merely the press? >> i will say to the hon. gentleman the change is a direct response to the committee chairman because we wanted to listen to their views and say broadcast and other social media could be included if there was evidence of wrongdoing. we are not trying to have an inquiry that get so wide it can't make progress on these issues but we listened to what
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he said and responded positively. >> will the prime minister publish any e-mails in the home office? >> i am looking at being as transparent as we can. we don't just have the freedom of information act where you can make requests. this government is pushing a huge amount of data including publishing recent e-mails. >> the prime minister has rightly published the names of people -- it doesn't include rupert murdoch and rebekah brooks but other journalists. given what he said about the government getting too close to the media, mrs. bonet was wondering -- [laughter] -- >> whether those visits would
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stop. understand -- [laughter] -- as long as she doesn't insist on a slumber party, that is a very good idea. >> mr. speaker, can i just -- ask the prime minister what the deputy prime minister told him about mr. coulson? >> the point was made by number of people, deputy prime minister was asked if it was right to give the job to mr. coulson. i'm made a decision. this man had resigned from the "news of the world" over the hacking scandal because it happened on his watch. hold on. island to the question. he gave the assurance he didn't know about it and i took that decision and it is a judgment i don't hide from and don't run away from and are am totally accountable for it. some people question that judgment on which the deputy prime minister -- that is why i
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have been so clear this is my decision that i am responsible for end people hold me accountable. i have been utterly frank about 20/20 hindsight or double vision but i don't believe in politicians running away from the decisions they make. i don't do that. >> the prime minister will have little time to consider my question which relates to stopping the scandal to undertake criminal activity. however he has widened the stakes to cover all courses. there are a number of people who would like to come forward. could he be assured that no one gets wrongdoing and able to keep any payout or bonus from retiring or taking it to another? >> what the hon. lady says makes sense. she should make those recommendations to the windsor review and the british inquiry
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as well. >> in reply to an earlier question the prime minister said the relationship between politicians and the media meant the important issue of media regulation was put on the back burner. why does he think putting a politically elected commissioner in charge of every police force doesn't mean that similarly difficult questions will be avoided in the future? >> i don't see this at all because the elected police commissioner will want to respond to the demand of the public for affective accountable policeing. there will be if you like some tension between the elected commissioner and the chief constable and as long as there is operational independence that could be a good thing. >> graham stuart. >> will the prime minister and shore the inquiry announced into the a malpractice in media cover
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the allegation made by -- baldwin and news international journalists authorized part of the effort unlawfully to access the conservative party bank accounts? >> i am sure the inquiry can look at this if there is evidence of illegal activity than big questions have to be answered and i am sure the leader of the opposition will ask those questions and make sure -- >> were there any meetings between neil wallace and mr. coulson when he was working for the prime minister at number 10 downing street? >> i don't have that information. far worse for me to give an answer that could turn out to be inaccurate. i will get back to you with that information. >> members on this side are right. want as to move on from excessive focus on this issue but are ask the prime minister how he is able to end the practice of journalism regularly
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paying police officers for a quick scooped? >> we need to do a number of things. the police investigation into corruption which is overseen by someone on the outside and work to improve the ethics and standards but also there will be the inquiry which will do a job of working on this on the panel of the former chief constable, understanding how the police service works and we can deal with this problem. >> i feel confident in the police being affected by allegations of bribery of police officers. will the prime minister look at whether there is a need to establish an independent police force that can police the police and will he give a guarantee the bribery act would not be amended by the inquiry is going on? >> on the first point we have the independent police complaints commission which is independent of the police.
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there are two questions. firstly want to make sure the resources and ability to investigate the police and secondly we have to look at whether we are swift enough at calling in and outside police force when there is evidence or allegations of wrongdoing so people can see this being done effectively. >> brandon louis. >> last week we heard a speech from gordon brown outlining concerns on hacking and inquiry yet yesterday we heard evidence the select committee that he never raised the subject despite the close relationship with rupert murdoch. could we reconcile those two issues? >> i am afraid i can't but the evidence speaks for itself. >> when members refer to other members they should richard -- refer to their constituents and not by name. >> when prime minister was leader of the opposition, was phone hacking discussed in any of the meetings?
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>> i had a range of meetings with john yates mostly about terrorism. i don't recall every single conversation i had and you would be mad to pretend you do. you would be superhuman to remember every conversation you have. almost all the conversations i had with john yates over the last year have been over terrorist issues and the key point about my chief of staff's e-mail is he was trying to make sure the police didn't do anything inappropriate. >> i welcome my right hon. friend's statement to investigate this event. will you agree with me that these issues for the metropolitan police dealt with speedily so hard working and effective police get out the maximum affect and the job they do fantastically well for all of us. >> that is hugely important. there are thousands of police officers doing a great job in london. they will be reading about this.
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i emma very clear message that we still have a very fine police service in this country and we back it. >> can the prime minister confirm whether any of his officials on downing street knew that neil wallace advised before the general election? >> all i can say is the first i was told of this to my knowledge was sunday evening, nil wallace wasn't employed or contract or paid by the conservative party but did some work for mr coulson. as we get to the bottom of that work, we will put that information on the record. it is very important when you ask these questions there is no conspiracy theory. to give accurate answers to these questions. >> tom brady. >> select committee hearings were heavy on entertainment but light when it came to hard
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facts. does inclusiveness not point to the urgent inquiries we establish they should be hard-hitting, wide ranging and look at all aspects of the phone hacking scandal, corruption, nepotism and the obsequious relationship between the press, the police and politicians. >> that is the reason for setting up this inquiry to get to the bottom of this information. to be fair i think they did make some good progress discovering some important evidence about all relationships and the evidence we are discussing today. >> would the prime minister confirmed it is unusual for a senior adviser to the prime minister not to be properly vented? will he confirm it was his decision not to flee that mr. coulson including -- including pastor activities? >> it was an unusual level. mr. coulson was cleared in the
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normal way special advisers are. he was cleared -- he was not sent papers above this level and like former administrations we send all the names of the staff. we employed special advisers. i feel some members are looking for a secret behind a curtain. it simply isn't there. >> when it comes to restoring public confidence, will you agree the steps he outlined today show he made more progress on this in 13 months than the last government did in 30 years. >> of very important point. they had plenty of opportunities over 13 years to shadow chancellor and to shadowed the leader of the opposition all the way through. they could have promoted the judicial inquiry and responded to the select committee and could have done something about
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the information reports. they were the slumber party. that is what they were. >> can the prime minister give the house a categorical assurance that mr. coulson never saw any briefings in to the police investigation into hacking or had any involvement in the government responds to it? >> the point i made is it is not routine for people on downing street to be given operational information about a police investigation. that is the whole thing my chief of staff was rightly trying to prevent. let me take the hon. lady back to the time when tony blair was prime minister and there were investigation -- just imagine if the police have started briefing officials with operational intelligence. it would have been an appalling thing and i don't see that.
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>> can i congratulate my right hon. friend on the leadership. such a wide ranging and robust inquiry. why he thinks following the announcement investigation which revealed details of 305 journalists at 30 newspapers and magazines a similar inquiry would not establish banks. >> we have to be frank. the last government wasn't on this at all. frankly the last opposition leaders and we should have done more but they do have to take some responsibility for repeated warnings and ignoring those warnings. i take my responsibility -- every time i mention this i talk about the failing of the opposition to do its job but once in awhile it would be nice to hear a back squeak of responsibility. >> mr. speaker, the prime
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minister -- the prime minister has said that neil wallace -- wallis was never confirmed by the conservative party. can you confirm that he never received any payment for individuals or organizations working on behalf of the conservative party? >> i said the conservative party didn't employ him or have a contract with him or pay him. he did do some informal work for mr coulson. the reason we know that is we announced it before the house of commons went down. we wanted to get this information out and when we get to the bottom of the work he did not like the complete lack of transparency and the party opposite we make that detail available. >> the recent remarks from the lord -- ward cit note that as a result of this inquiry politicians can impose what he called balance on the media. does he share my view that that
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is very dangerous? >> we want a free and vigorous press. sometimes it is infuriating but the idea of having equal coverage given to every point of view would kill the vibrancy of the press and respect him as i do if we had equal coverage the papers would take a lot longer to read every morning. >> [talking over each other] >> did the prime minister take the opportunity to talk to him about the phone hacking allegations and what his reasons re? >> he felt he was not able to go on doing his job of reallocations fuss and swirl of information and that was the right decision. i have been clear about my
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reasons for hiring him and the work he did. i revealed he stayed at checkers. you don't have to reveal private guess you pay for yourself. i have done that because i want to be transparent about my relationship and my decisions and judgments. i am happy to stand on those judgments and let people be the judge. that is the only thing you can do in this job. >> to you share my frustration? we have been here for the best part of two hours and have we heard from the members of the state any recognition of their part to play? [shouting] >> the hon. lady is right. the opposition came in with a choice.
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they could have risen to the level of events and dealt with the problem and responded to what our constituents care about. instead we have a litany of pathetic conspiracy theories to win a political game and it has been a complete failure. >> how have stevenson and john yates for mr. coulson's second chance? >> if you look of the evidence respect him enormously and he did some good things and john yates. stevenson said yesterday the circumstances surrounding his organization was different from the circumstances in number 10 downing street. we discussed this a lot today. the responsibility i have for hiring mr. coulson and the fact that he is not there anymore. that i would argue is completely different to the issues about a failed police investigation and allegations of police corruption
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and serious problems and the reasons paul stevens and set out yesterday. i respect what he did but he says the situation there different. >> the prime minister has shown in his statement that his private office -- absolutely compelling propriety which compares favorably -- i wonder if the prime minister would agree with me that it is broadly synthetic and -- >> what i would say -- and members opposite know that this is someone who served our country working whether it was for chris patton or patti action in kosovo and hong kong. he is a conservative supporter and friend of mine but a loyal public servant who has done great things for this country.
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on this occasion as so many his judgment was proved absolutely right. >> prime minister, can you tell us what specific advice the deputy prime minister gave you against employee and mr. coulson? >> i can set the answer to music. some people look at mr. coulson and the fact that he was a tabloid editor at the "news of the world" and resigned because of what happened some people advised me not to take him on. i made a decision on the basis of the assurances he gave me. i couldn't have been more frank about it. there's only now one tabloid editor left in the office of the prime minister or the leader of the opposition. a tabloid mirror editor and i wouldn't be surprised if they
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don't have questions. >> does the prime minister think the leader of the opposition should apologize for damian mcbride? >> the chancellor -- we did get finally although it took a while an apology. this was someone who was a special adviser who was sitting around casting accusations against people on the opposition front and when you compare that conduct with the conduct of mr. coulson who in his time at work -- it speaks volumes. >> did the prime minister when he was leader of the opposition discuss with john yates the issue of phone hacking? >> i can't remember every conversation i ever had with john yates. i did meet john yates in a position. i cannot remember how many times. i met him many more times in
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government and predominantly a discussed with him the issue of terrorism. >> will the prime minister agree one of the biggest episodes would it death of david kelly who was thrown to the media under intolerable pressure and led to his suicide. the investigation will be -- looked back at how that event unfolded? >> the point i make is we have to be careful this inquiry doesn't go completely viral. it has to focus on the issue at hand. the issue of david kelly is it looked at details in terms of the inquiry and this inquiry has got to make progress. >> last week i read in the daily mail the prime minister was about -- after an intervention by rebekah brooks he changed his mind and employed coulson.
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is that right? >> she specifically rejected that point yesterday. my good friend and colleague the mayor of london doesn't brilliant job. >> i have a question about the conduct of mr. coulson. did he ever suggest smearing members of the opposition when working at number 10 like damian mcbride was so impressed by the former occupant of number 10? >> powerful point that will be noted. >> will the prime minister agree we need to move on? not least because we want to watch without distraction the collapse of the euro and would he agree -- would he agree that if we are going to move on he is not to be a bet more frank and answering directly questions such as those --
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>> first of all leaders the lie applaud the hon. gentleman's enthusiasm but we recognize 40% of our exports if there is turmoil in the euro zone it won't be good for britain. we should be clear about that and be helpful and cooperative with our european partners to sort out their problems. i don't think i could give clearer answers to all the questions people have asked in this house and i know a lot of members came in this active in trying to find some conspiracy theory and have found one. >> yesterday liberal democrat colleagues questioned witnesses in terms of willful blindness. does the prime minister agree those in charge are responsible for free press should not get away with a willful blindness defense, but major responsibility for its act? >> there is no defense like that. what will happen now is there is
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going to be a police investigation under way that will ask who was culpable and who knew what when and after that is over the second stage of the judicial inquiry will go over that again not requiring the bar approval prosecution and maybe then we get the real evidence of who knew what when but we couldn't have tougher processes to get the answer people want. >> will the prime minister define what he regards as an appropriate conversation between him and -- >> i thought rebekah brooks define did excellently. one that you could repeat in front of the select committee. >> i brought my copy. in response to your comments you are not hiring anyone -- you did hire tim hayes who was the journalists of the times by news international but to the substance of my question, to the
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substance of my question the prime minister is right to say we should get to the bottom of this because ordinary people care but ordinary people also care and will be affected by what is happening in the euro zone. can the prime minister -- can the prime minister let us know the same amount of time we are dedicated to this, a conspiracy theory from the other side of the house. [talking over each other] >> the hon. gentleman has been extremely brave. parliament is going down for six weeks, long enough to forget what he said. he is right that we should be focusing on what is happening in the euro zone. we are holding a series of meetings to make sure we get our
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response right. >> in stanford, the scandal was just a little difficult which is why it was ok for the prime minister to leave the country at the height of the crisis. >> i didn't watch news night. i don't always catch it but i think it is important to british prime minister stand up for british business. and gets around world as i have done to china and india and africa and to suggest that because there are issues you have to answer a home you should cancel a trip like that and the opposition should be better than that. >> the select committees -- in 2003, on a catalog of the global traction in the media of potential payments made by journalists to the police. the investigation has announced
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will we understand the advice the committee would ignore? >> i am sure judicially inquiry will do that. one of the issues it is looking at is the relationship between politicians in the me and the conduct. >> if the prime minister had the new information about mr. coulson given by the guardian would he have gone ahead with the appointment? he should have passed that information. >> the point is this. if i have been told proper evidence that mr. coulson knew about hacking i would not have hired him. i couldn't be clear about this. ..
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>> thank you, mr. speaker. the previous -- or the prime minister's predecessor the honorable member said that he wanted to hold a public inquiry into this matter. >> no. >> did the prime minister tell the house on taking office what
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detailed preparations were left behind for him in number 10 on this very important issue? >> just like everything else, i found a complete mess. >> with regard of andy coulson of andy wallace in the election the prime minister said he would be transparent when he got to the bottom of that. will that inquiry be independent and why can't he publish today any documents relating to the use of mr. wallace? >> the point i'm making i want to get to the bottom to the question he asked what advice gave mr. wallace gave to mr. coulson. when i find it i will reveal it. perhaps he will take the time why he won't reveal his media contacts going back to the election. i've been much more transparent than the party opposite. >> angie bray.
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angie bray. >> the right honorable member, would he not agree that it doesn't necessarily and for the statement of the house next week when he said he had never done anything to further news international interests? >> well, i do think -- there is quite a contrast when we put it like this between the speech last week and the evidence we heard. >> thank you, mr. speaker. if the prime minister point blank refuses to tell this house the name of the company that vetted andy coulson, will he place the documents with regard to that investigate in the library of his house? >> the responsibility for hiring him is mine and mine alone. that is the responsibility i take. you might not like the answer but that's it. >> thank you, mr. speaker. and like many other members i'm
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sure i've been contacted by local newspapers who are concerned about the prospects of new regulation at a time of increasing pressure on their circulation. can my right honorable friend assure them that new regulations will not be overly heavy-handed on local press? >> the honorable gentleman makes a good point. we don't want a regulatory system to punish the innocent as it were to provide good local newspapers but there are problems with ethics and issues that need to be looked at. we need to make sure that it's proportionate. >> mr. wayne david? >> in the "new york times" article of september of last year, it is stated that -- and i quote one former editor says coulson was talking freely to colleagues. how can he say he had no evidence between a link between coulson and haddock. >> i discussed these allegations at the time. there was not proper foundation for them. and that is -- and that is the view not just of me but those who follow that issue. look, of course, there is an investigation underway and i couldn't be franker if it turns
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out that andy doleson knew about hacking, it won't be a matter of profound regret and a matter of profound apology and the apology i've given today. it will also be an issue for criminal prosecution. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has rightly taken the lead in openness and transparency would he now encourage the opposition to do likewise and open the vaults what happened under their watch in particularly of damien wallace and the culture of what happened. >> we have set out all the contacts we have and it's for others to follow suit not just former labour leaders but current labour leaders as well. >> the company that had the vetting of andy coulson, committee confirm that the company or any of his directors did not make any donations to the conservative party? >> i'll right the honorable gentleman i don't want to give an answer that's not accurate.
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>> nigel mills? >> thank you, mr. speaker. after a decade of spin i welcome the prime minister's attempt to sort out the relationship between politicians and the media for the long term and not just manage the news cycle. would he women the governments have all their spin doctors so we can be truly rid of that spin culture. >> i think my honorable friend makes a good point that there's an enormous amount of money spent by local authorities by local newspapers on their own free local newspapers and that is interest to the newspaper injury and there's a strong culture recognizing the importance of a strong regional and local newspaper industry. >> angela smith. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the "new york times" last september said that the reporter he had spoken to was one of two people who said coulson was present during discussions about phone hacking. did the prime minister discuss the allegation of andy coulson, and if not, why not? >> as i said i had a number of conversations all the time
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during his employment and in the end the swirl allegations is why he left but what we have now is not only a criminal investigation where people are being interviewed by the police and the police can go without fear or favor but also a public inquiry. that none of these things happened properly under the last government they're happening now and no one will be immune from it. >> may i just remind members that as a basic courtesy trying to catch my eye should not be fiddling with their electronic devices. i thought it was a major of courtesy but i guess not. >> mr. speaker, can i ask the prime minister whether he will ensure that the activities of damien mcbride, the king of smears and spin under labour will also form part of the investigation that he undertakes? >> they don't like hearing it on
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party opposite because they had people working on downing street that is absolutely despicable and that's a contrast they can't avoid. >> the prime minister seems to say his appointment of andy coulson was a success. it's been made absolutely clear that that appointment a fundamental obvious to everyone that the prime minister made a major of error of the appointment -- >> order, order, order. the questions are becoming longer and longer.
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the prime minister? >> check the transcript of what paul stevenson and john yates said yesterday and they think everyone behaved entirely appropriate as do i and as do the person sitting next to him too. >> there were two report about the risks of phone hacking. for the sake of the victims does the prime minister regret that no action was taken at that time? >> i think it is a matter of regret and, frankly, both front benches has got to accept this that warnings from the information commissioner from the select commissioners weren't heeded and we have to recognize that there were issues around relations with media groups that made that happen and we got to get to the bottom how we stop that from happening again and i hope we can address that in the debate. >> is the prime minister tell the house details of any appropriate conversations he had relating to the bskyb bid specifically with rebecca brooks and james murdoch on the 27th on december and rebecca brooks of 2010. >> what i've done is set out all of the details of the meetings and explain that all of the conversations were appropriate something backed by rebecca brooks yesterday. now, if she wants to help with this issue, she can ask the leader of her party to be
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equally transparent because he's not being transparent. >> thank you, mr. speaker. following on from my honorable friends from apple valley, did the prime minister join me in hoping that this is the end of the ever increasing rise of the press officer that's being paid for by police constabularies across the country. >> i would be a little bit careful about this. the police have to have an operation -- they have to have a relationship with the media both at the top level to communicate what the police is trying to do strategically and at the operational level. they've got to work with the local press to help beat crime so there is if you like an appropriate relationship they should have. we got to make sure they don't have an inappropriate relationship. >> the prime minister, have you ever mentioned the word of bskyb in the presence of rebecca brooks, rupert murdoch and james murdoch? >> you know, ah! >> mr. matthew hancock. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. doesn't it raise serious
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questions about how the previous government operated that members opposite think it would be appropriate for the prime minister to be briefed on operational police matters. and don't the emails that were released show just what a professional his chief of staff is. >> the judgment he reached was backed in advance by the permanent secretary at number 10 and has been subsequently backed by the leading police officers and indeed by the head of the home affairs select committee. >> andrew miller, returning to neil wallace, clearly, the prime minister said it was only sunday that he knew about mr. wallace's role. but others around him knew of mr. wallace's role well before that. doesn't he feel that down then including by mr. coulson? >> the point i make to the best of your knowledge the first i knew was sunday. we are getting to the bottom of what this formal advice was and
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when we have information about that, just as we've been transparent about all the media meetings, all the meetings with the moguls, about everything else, we can then make that information available. and while he's doing that, he should have a word with his party leader and ask him to be equally transparent. >> eleanor lange. >> does the prime minister agree with me that the vast majority of the people in the country who
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political point-scoring of the westminster village that has been going on here. but that they will warmly welcome his setting up of the inquiries today will hope that the inquiries will get on with their work and that the prime minister will be able to get on with his work of improving the economy of this country and representing this country in the international field? >> i think the british public are very wisecontempt. i don't know whether it's the political expedient thing to do but to give an apology. >> earlier what i said is i'm extremely sorry and deeply regret this. and in 20/20 hindsight knowing everything subsequently happened and i wouldn't offered the job and to be fair to andy coulson he wouldn't have taken the job but what i don't believe politicians doing is somehow
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shuffle off their responsibility. look, i made this decision, i employed his decision. if it turns out he lied to me what happened before, that is an even deeper apology and deeper regret than i've expressed today. i'm telling you what i feel about this. how i act about a politicians about this. that's no more than you can do. >> jane ellison, the prime minister has challenged us all to deal with the consequences of these events and does he not agree with me that a good start if the opposition were a little bit more realistic about the extent of their own recent contacts with news international especially considering on the 22nd of april of this year the leader of the opposition in a feature length interview with a national newspaper said in response to a question about whether he could yet unveil his new policy said you will read it first in the sun. [laughter] >> that is -- that is if you like my point. we've all engaged in this activity. the public know we've all engaged in this activity and we
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should all be honest about the fact so we can try to move on. >> mr. speaker, was mrs. brooks lying yesterday when she said it was the chancellor's bright idea to hire andy coulson? >> the chancellor has many bright ideas and the chancellor and i discussed many things but in the end i never seek to shuffle off my responsibilities. this was my decision. i'm accountable for it. >> mr. speaker, one of the leader of the opposition charges in his statement was the reason the commissioner didn't tell the home secretary or the prime minister about the appointment of neil wallace because of the position of andy coulson. the right member said that when he was the home secretary he wasn't informed about that appointment. isn't that rather bad to leave it -- >> even from nigeria i was able to follow the home secretary's excellent statement where she made precisely this point referring to what the former home secretary has said. so i do think it rather blows away part of his very flimsy
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case. >> sheila gilmore. >> thank you, mr. speaker. from the time i was elected to this house, i've had constituents contact me about the bskyb takeover and their concerns with it. in this early part of the year in particular about undertakings being -- given or offered from an organization which already proved to break its undertakings at any point did the prime minister talking about the possibility of undertakings being given with news international? >> i've answered this question. i basically took myself out of the whole decision-making process about bskyb. i think now having looked at what has happened, i would argue that the culture media and sports secretary of state has taken a series of absolutely correct decisions on the basis of the legal information that he received. >> thank you, mr. speaker, there are very few places in the where
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the leader of the free world would subject himself to questioning. one thing that does shame our democracy, though, is that there are elements of this house that seem to make political capital over the phone hacking of millie doweler. >> but as someone once famously once said, i'm enjoying. >> yeah, yeah. >> he's right. he is right to draw attention to the fact that at the heart of all this is the issue -- >> order! i've been enjoying listening to the questions and answers as well but i want to continue that enjoyment and to hear what the prime minister is saying. the prime minister. >> i want to make to the right honorable gentleman at the heart of this as we is that we must bear in mind the victims of phone hacking chief of which is the family of millie doweler. >> my knowledgel pickover one of my constituents in response --
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is it fair to say -- [inaudible] >> is it fair to say that local newspapers have not been so far implicated in this and we should welcome their campaigns, their journalism and we should support local press wherever they are? >> they play an absolutely vital role in the health of our local democracy and the health of our constituents and what i call the big society. clearly, the inquiry has to go wherever the evidence leads to all newspapers. but i think regional and local newspapers play a very important part of our country. >> glenn davis. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i believe that most members of this house will welcome and greatly support the inquiries that the prime minister have settled to get to the bottom of issues that have faced this government and previous governments. but will he emphasize the urgency with which we must get -- we must deal with these issues so that we can get back to dealing with all the other issues that are so important to our constituents? >> i think the honorable gentleman is right. we have to crack this. we have to deal with it. we have to do it in a way that
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restores public confidence but then we must get on the other things our constituents care about. >> given the importance of the bskyb decision to the balance of broadcasting in this country, why did the prime minister think it necessary to take himself outside of the decision-making process? >> i think -- i'm going to go further in a minute in my speech and suggest that it may be the case that we should take politicians out of all decisions about media mergers all together. but i was recognizing the fact that if you are the leader of a party, you are trying to win over newspapers and television and all the rest of it so the more you can take yourself out of decisions about future media structures are, frankly, better for all concerned and, frankly, i don't understand why he don't get that. >> bob stewart? >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's quite clear that relationships between our political leaders and leadership in the media are going to
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continue. and so, therefore, would my right honorable friend agree with me it's up to our political leaders and this house to get a system for dealing with this that's sound, proper, transparent and healthy as soon as we can? >> i agree with him and i'm going to address this directly in the speech i make in a moment. this is an opportunity to restart -- reset the clock and we should retake it. >> mr. speaker, can i ask the prime minister in all sincerity to disassociate himself from the comment from the member from northern hampton southwest. i can assure the prime minister despite the debates that are going on here, there's not one member on the opposition benches who is sitting to make political capital. >> listen to the question! listen to the question! >> can i ask the chancellor particular to pay attention to the last part of my remarks? >> listen!
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>> i can assure this chamber in the deepest sincerity there is not one person, i believe, in this chamber seeking to make political capital out of the phone hacking. i am simply disappointed that i'm not being heard. let me tell the prime minister directly, there is no one person who is willing -- >> order, i must ask the honorable lady to ask a single question in a sentence. >> will the prime minister disassociate himself from comments that allege that members on this side of the chamber are seeking to make political capital out of the phone hacking -- out of the phone hacking of millie doweler. >> i don't think question her motives but people can watch what's been said and they can form their own judgments. >> as a matter of public record and as part of the public inquiry will the prime minister ask russell dunnell to publish
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any record between meetings between numbers 10 and 11 downing street since the year 2000. >> as tempting as it would be, under our system politicians in one government cannot order the publication of papers in another government, fascinating that might sometimes be. >> mr. michael ellis. >> the home affairs select committee issued a report at 5:00 this morning which was critical of police whose evidence yesterday and last week included, frankly, attempts to pass the buck to alleged wrongdoers for not cooperating with the police. would the prime minister agree with me that alleged wrongdoers often don't cooperate with the police and the police should follow the evidence where it takes them? >> the police must absolutely do that. they know that is what everyone in this house wants. they know it's what the country expects. they have a proper resourced police investigation. it's under new leadership and we all wish them well with what they're doing.
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>> mr. daniel kaczynski. >> thank you, mr. speaker. one group of people who we have not discussed today are the hugely powerful trade union bosses, an extraordinary influence they have over the leader of the opposition. will this inquiry look into their contacts with rupert murdoch and his organizations? >> i think it's ingenious after 136 questions to come up with something entirely new and so i pay tribute to my honorable friend. i'm sure a judge will be able to look at all vested interests and the power that they wield in our country. >> i thank the prime minister and all members -- i was advised it was 138, but we'll settle for 136 members who have had the opportunity -- [laughter] >> to question the prime minister and i thank everyone for participating. we do want to move on -- order. we do want to move on to the
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debate. i think pretty speedily but i shall tend to ports of order. >> during his statement the prime minister said that alistar campbell had falsified government documents. i'm sure there's many people who would like to see the evidence for that. will the prime minister ask the mr. speaker that to be placed in the library of the house of commons library. >> the point the honorable gentleman raised that's important to him and possibly to others represents a continuation of the debate and we musn't use points of order for that purpose. >> mr. speaker, is it an order for a witness to answer a select committee as lord mcdonald dead d-yesterday when i asked how much he was paid for the news corporation and what he disclosed as role as dpp in the police inquiry? >> what would say to the herbal gentleman and this is the first i've heard this is witnesses before select committees should
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seek be as helpful as possible to committees and they have a general obligation to furnish those committees with answers to the best of their ability. i hope that answer is helpful to the honorable gentleman. >> the "new york times" revelations contained no new information but the police considered the information new enough to re-open their inquiries. would you care to correct the record? >> that too is a continuation of the debate for which i remind the house there will be full opportunity in the full debate that is about to follow. point of order -- i hope it is mr. dennis mcshane. >> so do i, sir. so do i. is it an order for any right honorable member to make a defamatory statement in a dispatch box? >> members should take
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responsibility for their own statements and, of course, members should not make defamatory statements about other members. but the right honorable gentleman is raising his point of order in the abstraction and, therefore, for me it becomes hypothetical and i think the speaker wisely doesn't seek to respond to hypothetical questions. point of order, i hope it's the last. mr. robert -- >> in your earlier remarks are reviewing the security given the instant essay will you ensure that the public continue to have the right to go to select committees and their right is not restricted? >> i'm grateful for the honorable gentleman for his point of order, that right to attend meetings in the way the honorable gentleman describes is a very long established and precious freedom. i think it will be quite wrong for me to seek to constrain or circumscribe an independent investigation in what it can cover and what it can recommend.
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but the point the honorable gentleman has made is an important one. i've underlined its importance and i think many people will share his point of view. i think we should now move to the main business, the sittings of the house motion in the name of the leader of the house george young. say aye. i think the ayes have it. the ayes have it. we come now to the main debate. the prime minister. >> thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. i beg to move that this house has considered the matter of public confidence in media and the police. mr. speaker, you've heard a lot from me already so i'll keep my opening remarks brief. but i do want to start my contribution by paying tribute to this house and to honorable members who sit in it. just a couple of years ago at the height of the expenses scandal, people said we had lost relevance that we no longer properly represented the constituents we served. we got a long way to go before regaining full public trust but the past two weeks has shown the house in many ways at its best.
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we've seen the true worth, for instance, of our select committees with the forensic scrutinies of those in positions of power in the public interest and i particularly want to pay tribute to those chaired by my honorable friend the member for lester east and my right honorable member. we've seen vigorous debate with this house leading the public debate finishing, of course, with the news corporation's withdrawal of their bid to take over bskyb. and we've seen cross-party support and action to get to the bottom of what happened and learn lessons for the future. we now have in place a judge-led independent public inquiry. they will have all the powers necessary and i just want to start this debate by saying we must be careful not to preempt all its deliberations or try to seek in advance to answer all the questions it must address. there's a good reason for setting up this inquiry. we must let it do its work. but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be clear about the big picture of what needs to be done. all this as i said a moment ago

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